I've had this idea rolling around in my head for a while, maybe a couple years. I'd like to put together a cook book for my extended family, on my mom's side. I think I'd finally like to get this project started.
I don't know why, but family memories are tied and intermingled so strongly with food memory that it is nearly impossible to separate the two. That's probably why I spend so much time in the kitchen. Family equals love in my memory, and family also equals food... Therefore, I make food for people I love.
The food I remember was rich, simple but filling. And there was always plenty of it. As a kid, I didn't have much to do with the preparation of anything that went on the table, at least not at any of my aunts' houses. My mom and her sisters would shoo us out of the kitchen while they were cooking. What do I remember? Chicken n dumplings, fried chicken, creamed corn, sausage gravy over biscuits, cold green bean salad, warm coconut cake (and I don't like coconut!), fruit salad, meatloaf, home canned green beans with bacon, grill outs, cobbler, baked pineapple, broccoli salad, macaroni and cheese. There are foods that appear regularly at family events like Christmas and wedding showers. I want to gather them up and bind them together so that my generation, the grandkids and great grandkids, will have this collective memory to look back over. So that even as our family gets larger, and the generations have less and less contact with each other, we will still be able to recall the times we were all together, the blessings that come from family, and the love that we share around the table.
If you are descended from Clarence and LaGrada, from Ohio county, KY, I'd love for you to share your recipes and your memories with me.